Monthly Archives: February 2008

May 18th 1972

“came home + then started to pack clothes for weekend”

I will warn readers in advance that the impending ‘weekend’ of which I speak was something of an ‘awakening’ in my personal 14-year-old teenage life.

I don’t mean that in religious terms – even if the time away was held at a church minister’s private (and somewhat palatial) residence – moreso in a “girls” and “fumbling” kind of way.


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May 17th 1972

“Auntie Margaret sent me book from W.Australia”

Auntie Margaret was my dad’s sister, who emigrated to Australia before I was born. She went there with my grandfather, when the country was openly touting for new immigrants following the end of World War II.

Having narrowly avoided a Japanese invasion during the conflict, the country adopted a new “populate or perish” mandate, eventually attracting over one million Europeans under the ‘Assisted Migration Scheme’. These new citizens became what are colloquially referred to as “ten pounds poms”, named for the meagre – and heavily subsidised – fare each person was charged for passage across the oceans.

I never met my Aunt, but I truly wish I had. Dad always missed her, and when she died (too young, of cancer) he was, quite rightly, beside himself with grief. Margaret had a daughter who Dad continued to stay in touch with, treating her almost as his own. It was one of my bigger – and better – ideas to pay for her to fly over to England to meet him and stay for a while in the 90’s. A fun/emotional time was had by all.

I can’t clearly recall which tome Margaret may have sent me, but I do have the recollection of owning a ‘coffee table’ book that featured beautiful photos of Australia, so maybe this was the one she mailed across the world? I do know that the photo compilation included a very memorable set of images of (what was once known as) Ayers Rock – the famous sandstone formation in the country’s desert outback – the sheer impact of which stay with me to this day, almost taunting me to visit the iconic structure before it’s ‘too late’.

From both its point of view, and mine.

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May 16th 1972

“went see ‘Diamonds are Forever’ at Pictures”

If you were a British teenager growing up in the seventies, seeing the latest James Bond movie was somewhat mandatory?

With George Lazenby stinking up the screen as 007 in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“, producers Harry Salzman & Cubby Brocolli succeeded in persuading Sean Connery to again holster the Walther PP for one final time (I never regard 1983’s cinematic pile of plop “Never Say Never Again” as a legitimate Bond movie… and neither, I hasten to add, should you!)

In retrospect, I feel Diamonds Are Forever‘s final massive shoot out – on something as comparatively unimpressive as an oil-rig – to be a let-down in ‘pure’ excitement terms  – after all, we’d become accustomed to vast underground bunkers and hollowed-out volcanoes – but to a 14-year-old boy, in 1972, on a Tuesday night, that probably didn’t matter.

There was the teasingly-smutty opening credits (accompanied by a rousing Burly Chassis theme tune), guns, gadgets, lots of attractive girls in skimpy clothing (including the ravishing Jill St John), some snappy dialogue and non-stop action. With all that I bet I hardly even tasted my Walls Cornetto during the intermission.

Yes, this was at a time when movies were split in two halves, and cinema ushers used the break to sell you ice-creams and sweets from a tray hung round their neck.

I often wonder how that would be treated nowadays? If, for instance, just as Javier Bardem was about to kill his umpteenth victim in “No Country for Old Men“, the film suddenly stopped and someone wheeled a popcorn machine into the auditorium.

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May 15th 1972

“me + micky bt steve + andy 7-6 after going 5-1 down”


This entry raises all kinds of questions, most intrinsically “what the hell was I playing“?

Tennis? Is this tennis?

So, after 36 years, I gasp with defined incredulity….. “I played tennis?

Likewise, no idea who micky was

Or andy

Or steve

Bloody neurons.

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an aside (I)

It occured to me that when I was writing my 1972 diary at 14, my Mum & Dad were the age I am now in 2008.

I am trying to imagine myself having a 14-year-old me living in our home.

My poor parents!

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May 14th 1972

“went to church (wattahero)” / “fell off bike” / “TIB at centre 66” / “played football, good fun”

A comparatively busy diary entry for a change.

Quite the mix of things in there too.

Obviously, going to church was treated (*cough*) with dubious respect, going so far as ridiculing myself, maybe as something of a sarcastic riposte against my parents who may have persuaded me to do so? Or may not.

fell off bike” conjures up all sorts of nasty 50-year-old images, none of which are probably as innocuous as the accident was when I was 14.

played football, good fun” is far more intriguing, thanks to my total lack of recall as to where and who with. I’ll guess it was with the people from my TIBS group, although since this consisted of just 4 guys and more than 6 girls, I have my doubts.

I can remember playing football –  more realistically described as “kickabout” – when I was much younger than 14.  Night after night I would go out into the back alley of our first house and, by myself, play a brick wall at football for hours on end. I think the wall won every time?

Ah, such youthful simplicity. Ah, such youthful energy and exercise.

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May 12th 1972

“bought packet of sole studs (8p) TUF”

Reading this entry really made me laugh out loud.

“Studs” were crescent-shaped pieces of metal (steel) that could be hammered into the soles of shoes, ostensibly to protect the heel from wear.

But protecting the heel from wear was the very furthest thing from my mind when I bought and used these. It was ALL about me being ‘teen-trendy’ and ‘stylish’.

I had doubtless noticed that my school’s “cool kids” had a certain ‘click’ to their walk, created by these sole studs. 8p obviously seems/seemed like a small price to pay to replicate that instant cool.

To hell with the fact that I probably looked like a twat and was dressed by my Mum, if I could ‘click’ like the cool kids, I might become “TUF” (tough) like one of them?! Hahahahaha……

In reality, I probably amended my walking style – in order to create the best, loudest-possible girl-attracting ‘click’ – resulting in an affectation that made me look like a camel with shattered kneecaps.

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May 11th 1972

“recorded half of goodies programme”

My “tape recording” fever was not merely limited to popping the microphone in front of the record player’s speaker and ‘pirating’ an LP or two.

Every so often I would sit the mic in front of the TV and record the audio from programmes I liked – usually comedy shows – and then play them back ad infinitum.

For the uninitiated (read “American readers”), The Goodies were a comedy troupe consisting of Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. At times as anarchistic (if not often moreso) as Monty Python, the comedy revolved around the wacky trio hiring themselves out to “do and solve anything”.

Their mode of transport was a three-seater tandem bike and the kind of things they solved was a giant cat terrorising London, the end of the world, women’s lib and even apartheid in South Africa. It was all very surreal stuff, often politically-aware, and helped immensely by the persona of the three leads. Graeme was the mad professor character, Tim a die-hard royal-supporting Tory and Bill the liberal weirdo.

Unlike Python, the humour and popularity didn’t cross the Atlantic, which is a shame as it’s probably even more “British” than Cleese & Co., and I am sure the show would still be in cable re-runs even now if it had. In 1972 The Goodies was the epitome of “must-see TV” (even if the phrase hadn’t yet been invented), and ran for 12 years and over 70 episodes.

Yes, I have the DVDs. Yes, I might be a little sad.

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